Ulcers — Are We Giving Our Kids Ulcers?

Ulcers -- Are We Giving Our Kids Ulcers?

We know that infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori can be the underlying cause of ulcers, gastritis, or intermittent abdominal pain in adults and children. But where do kids get these bacteria?

A large Swedish study published in the August 2001 issue of Gastroenterology provides some interesting answers. The chances of being infected do not appear to be influenced by being exposed to infected classmates. Child-to-child transmission appears to be uncommon. Instead, they get the bacteria from adults – primarily adults in their own families.

This suggests to me that if parents have ulcer-like symptoms, they can do their children a service by getting the right treatment. Too often, we put off treatment for one reason or another. When we do decide to do something, we take an antacid to mask the symptoms rather than treating the infection that is the cause. Do it right, for the sake of your children.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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